In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
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The Estonian National Opera Boys' Choir was founded in 1971 as the boys' choir of the State Academic Men's Choir. In 1997 the choir was adopted by the Estonian National Opera. For thirty years the choir was directed by its founder, Professor Venno Laul, until the appointment in 2001 of Hirvo Surva as Artistic Director and Main Conductor. The Boys' Choir functions as a choral studio with three different levels. The main concert choir is supported by two training choirs for the younger boys, so that altogether around 140 talented young singers study vocal music in the choir. The main concert choir works on the principal of a classical mixed choir (men's and boys' voices); boys whose voices have broken are encouraged to remain in the choir and carry on singing as tenors and basses. The activity of the choir, including concert tours, singing camps, competitions and other joint activities, has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Estonian National Opera, of the parents of the singers and of our sponsors.
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir has become the best-known Estonian classical music performer and one of the best choirs in the world. In 2001-2007 the choir's chief conductor and artistic director was Paul Hillier. The renown British musician has widened the choir's perspectives and continued their success both in the recording field and as a performing group at prominent concert venues and festivals. Since September 2008 the chief conductor and artistic director is Daniel Reuss.
EPCC was founded in 1981 by Tonu Kaljuste, who acted as artistic director and chief conductor for 20 years. It was first formed as an amateur chamber choir Ellerhein, founded by Tonu Kaljuste's father Heino Kaljuste (1925-1989) on the 15th anniversary of the children's choir Ellerhein in 1966. In 1971 Tonu Kaljuste became the conductor of the chamber choir Ellerhein, on the basis of which he formed the full-time professional EPCC.
In 1990, a Music Studio was founded under the auspieces of the children's programme of Estonian Television (ETV). Aarne Saluveer (music director of the studio 1990-2004) founded Estonian Television Girls' Choir, ETV Children's Choir and Toddler's Choir, which at present are all among the very top of Estonian Choirs.
In 1997 Aarne Saluveer and Eve Viilup established nonprofit institution Lasteekraan Music Studio, and gained the licence for choir school the same year.
The cast comprises 30 girls of 15 to 21 years of age. The programme includes spiritual and secular music of different ages, folk music with effective dance movements and modern programmes of pop music and jazz. The numerous contest firsts prove their internationally high professional level. The Estonian TV Girls' Choir has collaborated with Arvo Part, Veljo Tormis and other well-known contemporary composers, appeared at a number of international conferences and symposiums and participated in the City of Tallinn programme of the Eurovision Song Contest of 2002.
The Euphorics (U4X) are a joyous, energetic a cappella quartet, who, since 1983, have been delighting audiences internationally on radio, television, and concert stages, at schools, festivals, and special events of all kinds. Individually, members of the Euphories are powerful lead singers. Joani Bye (alto), fronts her own band, the Homewreckers, and her voice has graced countless albums (including those of Bon Jovi, David Bowie, INXS, and Cher). Helen Davis (soprano) leads her own jazz quartet and has backed up Doug and She Slugs, and Kathi Hof Donald. Bing Jensen, bass, long-time Vancouver performer, winner of the 1993 CARAS award for best children's album and the West Coast Music Award for Best Children's album in 1998. David Steele, tenor, is a singer songwriter who has worked with numerous internationally recognized artists. Together, they create a rich and soulful blend with a repertoire of top-notch originals and innovative arrangements of covers in a wide variety of styles. The Euphorics celebrate their passion for music with plenty of humor and dynamic audience interaction.
Ex Cathedra is a British choir and early music ensemble based in Birmingham in the West Midlands, England. It performs choral music spanning the 15th to 21st centuries, and regularly commissions new works.
Ex Cathedra was founded in Birmingham in 1969 by Jeffrey Skidmore, who is its artistic director and conductor. Originally conceived as a chamber choir, it now comprises a full choir of about 20 to 40 singers, the Ex Cathedra Consort made up of ten young professional singers who feature regularly as soloists, and a Baroque ensemble/orchestra.
Formed in 1993, the seven-member vocal band started their humble journey in small NYC music clubs and worked their way up to win the Audience Favorite Award at the 2000 Harmony Sweepstakes national finals in San Francisco. Along the way, they appeared on VH1, Nickelodeon, TNN, NBC's Today Show as well as several appearances on The Howard Stern Show. They performed regularly at NYC rock club Mercury Lounge and their classic rock roots even earned them opening act slots with the likes of The Marshall Tucker Band and The Edgar Winter Group.
Their debut CD, A Cappella's Dead (1999) was called the "classic rock album a cappella has been waiting for" (Recorded A Cappella Review Board). The album features inventive covers of Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Yes, and Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight". Their follow-up CD Karaoke Bar Brawl (2002) gained even more praise. Produced by Rockapella vocal percussionist Jeff Thacher, the album was nominated for two Contemporary A Cappella Recording Association (CARA) awards: Best Album and Best Cover Song ("25 or 6 to 4") and was one of RARB's "Picks of 2003" for favorite albums of the year. Karaoke Bar Brawl (named after a true event involving several band members) features loud & raw covers of The Who, Alice In Chains, Queen as well as two original songs.
In 1995 and 1997-2001, Excalibur placed in the finals in the International competition for the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, Inc., SPEBSQSA , -- one of the ten best quartets in the world! Excalibur won the LOL District competition in 1991 and is the highest ranking quartet from LOL since Happiness Emporium won the gold medal in 1975.
The Exon Singers is recognised as one of the UK's leading chamber choirs. Founded in 1966, it has become renowned for its dynamic and expressive performances of music from the Renaissance to the present day.
The Exon Singers can often be heard on BBC Radios 3 and 4 and on CD. In December 2009 the choir recorded a second disc with the Regent Records label, of previously unrecorded music of Philip Wilby, who was the Composer in Residence at the 2009 Festival. This CD is to be released in 2011 and follows on from the choir's first disc with Regent released in the summer of 2010, of previously unrecorded music by Philip Moore. Philip Moore was the choir's Festival Composer in Residence in 2008, having then recently retired as Organist and Master of the Music at York Minster. Previous recordings by the choir include critically acclaimed discs with the Delphian label, of music by Howard Skempton, Dr Francis Jackson, and in 2004 a first recording of a reconstruction of Vespers by Tomas Luis de Victoria.
F'loom is an avant cappella vocal trio that presents cutting-edge programs of "language music" - original pieces that inhabit the fertile, mysterious realm that lies between pure language (speech) and pure music (song). F'loom performs original all-vocal compositions seething with satire, social commentary, pop diatribe, slap, zap, melody, poetry, and comedy.
Face is a nationally recognized all-vocal rock band from Boulder, Colorado, bringing a new edge and attitude to the human voice. Using just five voices and a vocal drummer, or "beat-boxer," Face creates a rock-music phenomenon that has to be seen to be believed. No other instruments or special effects - just six guys. Considered "among the top 10 singing groups in the country," (Norm Johnson, Las Vegas Leisure Guide) they regularly wow sold-out audiences throughout Colorado, including such classic venues as Boulder Theater and The Soiled Dove.
Face was recently named "Best Local Musician/Group" by Boulder Weekly's 2009 Best of Boulder Reader Survey. In addition, Face is a two-time winner of the National Audience Favorite Award at the Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals, as well as National Runner-Up in 2005 and 2007. Face was also runner-up for Favorite Pop/Rock Group in the 2007 Contemporary A Cappella Society's Community Awards. Face has been headlining in Las Vegas periodically since 2007 to rave reviews, paving the way for even more national attention.
The Fairfield Four, the most distinguished proponents of traditional African American a cappella gospel singing working today, were organized in 1921 by Reverend J.R. Carrethers, assistant pastor of the Fairfield Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. The group, initially a trio comprised of the Reverend's two sons, baritone Harold and bass Rufus along with tenor lead John Battle, evolved into a quartet with the addition of a second lead, Lattimer Green, later replaced by Samuel McCrary.
The quartet sang a cappella, performing traditional spirituals such as "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel" and "Dry Bones" arranged and taught to them by Reverend Carrethers. In time, the Fairfield Four became professionals with Rufus Carrethers and Samuel McCrary emerging as singers of reputation, Carrethers for his rhythmic style of bass singing, and McCrary for his exceptional clear tenor voice.
Fanatix quartet consists of Connie Noble, tenor (past international champion with The 4th Edition and Savvy and long time tenor of High Society); Darcy Newell, lead; Sandy Shelver, baritone (past international champion with High Society); and Gerry Papageorge, bass (past international champion (tenor) with Panache). They formed in the summer of 1998 when this kid from New Mexico and a big shot tenor and baritone finally convinced another legendary tenor/lead to make bass her new mission. They earned 4th place at their first regional contest (the highest they ever got!) and earned a wild card slot to international. They were thrilled to sing their way into 4th place at our first international contest in Atlanta in 1999! (This was Darcy's first international medal, and Gerry became the first Sweet Adeline ever to earn international medals in 3 different voice parts: lead, tenor, and bass).
Faraualla is the deepest karstic cavity of the Murgian upland in Apulia. This chasm opens among fields of wheat, pastures and farms, a silent isle that has inspired popular believes.The origin of this name remains obscure but its pronunciation fills the mouth with voice. As when a word forgets its meaning to be, once again, sound: pure, crude and mighty. This new perception strengthens vocality and makes the voice give back the instinct of singing. So, pieces of voices and stories are handed down, multiplying.
This highly acclaimed a cappella group, whose name means "woman, my friend," will perform selections from their diverse repertoire, including Shaker music. Sharing a woman's view of the world, femme m'amie delights audiences with their pitch perfect harmonies, full arrangements, and simple elegance.
Founded in 2009, Fermata Town is now the newest member of the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL). Inspired by the wealth of new talent in the a cappella world, we have worked hard to find our voice and put a unique stamp on the Boston a cappella scene. We pride ourselves in our original arrangements, the sound that we produce, and our ability to maintain a healthy balance between our music and active lifestyles.
Fermata Town was officially founded during the spring of 2009 stemming from the break up of the all male Boston based group The Testostertones (Boston). The founding duo of Dan Campagna and John Baptista recruited former Testostertones Dave Carr and Nathan Pierce to join forces and find other interested singers who shared the same passion for a cappella music. Be it through word or mouth, internet advertisements and craigslist posts - Fermata Town was able to quickly establish itself as one of Boston's freshest co-ed a cappella groups to hit the streets.
Fifth Avenue is a bright, fresh, musical group - mostly because they don't know any better. They hit the scene in June of 1983 and dazzled audiences with their tight, pure harmonies and delightful sense of fun. Within a year they were appearing before 45,000 people in a two-hour concert at the Spokane World's Fair Park. They have also worked with such artists as Bill Cosby and Jerry Lee Lewis, and did a tour to Japan and China aboard the Royal Viking Star cruse ship.
After three great years they decided to take a bit of a hiatus. So they did...for nine years. This hiatus involved starting families, establishing private businesses, doing the 9 to 5 routine, entering and exiting a witness protection program, etc., but each member continued to develop his musical chops. But hey! Now, The Ave is back together and they're more fuel efficient, economical, and they have more RAM. Recently, Fifth Avenue has performed for enthusiastic audiences at the Boise State jazz festival, the Casper College jazz festival, the Frank DeMiero Jazz Camp and the 1998 International Association of Jazz Educators conference. They also had the pleasure of performing at the 1999 Boise Summer Riverfest, in concert with a jazz big band. Their audience included over 100,000 listeners in attendance, as well as countless more watching on live television. Between these engagements they've performed at colleges, conventions, and a couple of places that they'd rather not talk about.
The Christian a cappella group, First Call, have reinvigorated the familiar Christmas classics with fresh arrangements and sincere renditions of the old favorites. Appearances by guest vocalists and multi-tracking allow for a multiplicity of textures and sounds. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" will rekindle good will toward all in even the most cynical holiday Grinch. "The New Twelve Days of Christmas" replaces the partridge and pear tree with shopping malls and choir rehearsals, and segues brilliantly into "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." The shimmering, pure vocal tones are augmented by the crisp, digital production. This is an "Evening" you won't want to miss!
On November 16, 1871, a group of unknown singers -- all but two of them former slaves and many of them still in their teens -- arrived at Oberlin College in Ohio to perform before a national convention of influential ministers. After a few standard ballads, the chorus began to sing spirituals -- "Steal Away" and other songs" associated with slavery and the dark past, sacred to our parents," as soprano Ella Sheppard recalled. It was one of the first public performances of the secret music African Americans had sung in fields and behind closed doors.
The Jubilees not only introduced the world to the music of black America, they championed the liberties of all Americans," says Andrew Ward, co-writer of the documentary and author of "Dark Midnight When I Rise: The Story of the Jubilee Singers." More than 125 years later, the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University continue the concert tradition begun by that courageous original chorus of former slaves.
Much in the world has changed since the original version of the Blind Boys of Alabama first raised their voices together. That was in 1939, when the members were just kids at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, Ala. Today, more than 70 years later, founding member Jimmy Carter can look back on a career far beyond what he and his colleagues could imagine at that time. The group has won a long list of awards, including Lifetime Achievement honors from the Grammys and the National Endowment for the Arts, entertained around the world, been profiled on 60 Minutes, sung for two Presidents at the White House and been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Though the group has recorded and performed with a few country artists, along with others as diverse as Ben Harper, Tom Petty, Peter Gabriel and Prince, they never crossed the line and committed to doing a project inspired by the country genre until now, with the release of Take The High Road on Saguaro Road Records. This landmark recording draws from modern and traditional country to enrich the group's gospel-rooted sound with fresh and illuminating insight.
Five By Design's signature harmonies have withstood the test of time in a career that stands out on America's musical landscape, spanning more than fifteen years. This nationally-acclaimed vocal quintet has been the choice of symphony orchestras and performing art centers delighting hundreds of thousands.
But Five By Design's creative talents go far beyond their vocal prowess. As the creative talent behind Radio Days, Club Swing, and Stay Tuned, their productions showcase the group's penchant for storytelling and the comedic. Whether backed by symphony orchestra or studio big band, Five By Design embraces the unforgettable melodies, lush harmonies, and swinging rhythms that evoke the names of Miller, Mancini and Mercer.
The Five Discs were one of several doo-wop groups (Carollons, Chips, etc.) to trace their origins to the Bedford-Stuyvesant district of Brooklyn, New York, USA. They were formed in 1954 by Joe Brocco (lead), Joe Barsalona (baritone), Paul Albano (first tenor) and Tony Basile (second tenor). Composed of Italian-descended young men and originally titled the Flames, they subsequently shuffled the pack by adding black singers Mario deAndrade and Andrew Jackson from the Love Notes. This produced a new line-up of deAndrade (lead), Jackson (bass), Albano (first tenor), Basile (second tenor) and Barsalona (baritone), though membership remained fluid over ensuing years. After recording demos at Bell Sound studios in New York the group started to offer these to interested parties. There were no takers until songwriter Billy Martin introduced them to the proprietors of the Emge Records label. They were still titled the Flames when they cut deAndrade's song "I Remember", but when it was released they had chosen a new name, the Five Discs.
Five O'Clock Shadow, the all-vocal rock band from Boston, is living proof that a band without instruments can still rock! Using the same tech wizardry that guitarists have been using since the dawn of rock, Dan, Oren, Paul, and Caleb morph their voices into shredding guitar riffs and soaring solos right before your very ears. Meanwhile, their one-man vocal rhythm section, Stack, lays down his "beatbass": mouth beats and vocal bass thundering forth from his face, both at the same time! Yet when you take away all the speakers, amps, and microphones, these guys are still singers right down to the soul!
Also known as "FOCS", Five O'Clock Shadow has vocally rocked audiences of all ages throughout the US and Japan, and in every kind of venue. Through their educational program FOCS has presented workshops and concerts to thousands of music students from coast to coast.
Cousins Jacob Carey (Jake) and Ezikial Carey (Zeke) formed the group in Chicago, Illinois, after meeting Paul David Wilson and Johnny Carter at a black Jewish church. Earl Lewis soon joined, and after a series of name changes (The Swallows, El Flamingos, The Five Flamingos) wound up being known as The Flamingos. Sollie McElroy soon replaced Lewis (who joined The Five Echoes). Their first single (for Chance Records), "If I Can't Have You", was a moderate success, and the follow-ups "That's My Desire" and "Golden Teardrops" cemented their reputation. They left Chance Records sometime after their December 1953 session and signed with DJ Al Benson's Parrot Records. Sollie McElroy was on their first Parrot session, but left the group in December 1954, to be replaced by first tenor Nate Nelson (who was on their second Parrot session; he's lead on "I'm Yours," released in January 1955). In early 1955, the Flamingos transferred over to Chess Records, to record for their Checker subsidiary. They started to have national R&B hits in 1956 ("I'll Be Home," "A Kiss From Your Lips," "The Vow," "Would I Be Crying"), but both Zeke Carey and Johnny Carter were drafted (Johnny in September). They were also part of the 1956 Alan Freed movie Rock, Rock, Rock.
In the world of choral music the increasingly higher standards reached in recent years by a number of chamber-sized choirs has been a hugely encouraging development. With every intention and capacity to join such an elite group is Glossa's recent signing, the Vlaams Radio Koor from Belgium - the Flemish Radio Choir. Its 24 professional singers are now under the baton of chief conductor Bo Holten. Other leading international conductors also appear at the helm of the Flemish Radio Choir: eminent guest conductors such as Kaspars Putninsh, Laszlo Heltay, Paul Hillier and Herve Niquet enjoy working with the choir.
The choir's beginnings reach back to the years 1936/7 when it was brought into being at the behest of the national Belgian Radio, with the task of cooperating in every broadcast of the radio requiring a choir. This remained under the direction of conductors such as Leonce Gras, Jan Van Bouwel and Vic Nees until the Radio Orchestra and the Radio Choir became independent and actually separated from the broadcasting company in 1996. Since that time the choir has been a concert ensemble rather than being based in the studio, touring extensively not just in Belgium but also in France, Spain and The Netherlands.
Fleur de Lisa is based in Durham, North Carolina. They write and perform original a cappella music, often based on poetry. Individually they bring many disciplines together, including jazz, rock, classical and country. Their diverse musical experiences blend into a versatile style of their own. Individually they bring many disciplines together, including jazz, rock, classical and country. They use all these experiences when they create their unique music. They have performed in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, throughout NC and the Eastern US.
For sixty years fans have flocked to see The Florida Boys, the only male quartet that was consistently prominent from the 1950's to July 2007. With No. 1 hits like "Standing On The Solid Rock", "When He Was On The Cross, I Was On His Mind", "Lead Me To The Altar" and "I Lean On You Lord" this legendary group has recorded some 100 albums and attained a following of devoted listeners.
So what is at the heart of their success? Les Beasley, who sang lead and served as manager of the group, says it's their commitment to the calling they each have. We sincerely believe we have been doing what we were put on earth to do. We wanted our audiences to have a good time but it was most important that they hear the message in each song.
The Florida Boys' national television appearances consist of "The Today Show", "TNN's Prime Time Country", "Crooke & Chase", "Gaither Homecoming Videos" and their own "Gospel Singing Jubilee" which they hosted for many years.
The Flying Pickets are commonly regarded as being one of the leading pop a-cappella groups in Europe. Their dynamic stage shows and acclaimed innovative albums have all contributed to their recognition as the undisputed masters of their field. The group was first formed in 1982 by members of the 7:84 Theatre group, a socialist fringe theatre group who used acappella singing in a production called One Big Blow, the story of the 1982 miner's strike in England, from the miner's point of view. They enjoyed the singing so much that they started to work around the pubs and clubs of London, at a time when nobody else in the UK was performing pop/rock based acappella, and found immediate success. The first recording was a live show 'Live at the Albany Empire' on the group's own label, which sold so well that they soon came to the attention of Virgin Records, who signed the group in 1983.
Flying Without Instruments, also known as FWI (pronounced "fwee"), a quirky and versatile ensemble, is now in its 18th year. FWI mounts its own concerts in San Francisco and the East Bay and has also sung at private parties, weddings, halfway houses, and religious services, and has performed twice in the regional Harmony Sweeps competition. FWI's repertoire ranges from the ridiculous to the sublime, from the elegant to the uproarious. According to the non-profit group Bread & Roses, FWI's shows are "well-paced, moving nimbly from the sacred to the profane, keeping it interesting and entertaining every step of the way."
The line-up of this close-harmony 50s US vocal group, whose initial success was achieved by making cover versions of black R&B records, comprised Marge Rosse (New Milford, New Jersey, USA; lead), Bea Rosse (b. New Milford, New Jersey, USA; low harmony) and Geri Rosse (b. New Milford, New Jersey, USA; harmony). Their mother was a choral director and organist. After leaving high school they joined an all-girl troupe and went on an eight-month tour. Later, they were joined by their brother Frank on guitar, and appeared on radio and in theatres and clubs. After Frank was killed in World War II, the girls re-formed in 1944 as a trio and worked for several years on Perry Como's radio and television shows; they also backed him on several records, including the US number 1 hits 'You're Adorable' and 'Hoop-Dee-Doo'. Signed to RCA - Victor Records in 1949, they had several minor hits in the early 50s, including 'Tennessee Waltz', 'Let Me In' (with Texas Jim Robertson) and 'Cold, Cold Heart'.
Footnotes started in High school under the direction of Ben Ayling (bass of the Ritz) in 2001/02. The next two years Gary Lewis (tenor of Platinum and Bari of Max Q) replaced Ben as choir director and became their new coach. They competed in both the Young Women in Harmony Regional Competition and the JAD high school competition winning Gold in both. In 2006 they won the Sweet Adelines' Rising Star Quartet.
Group Members - Tenor - Erica Wagner, Lead - Heather Pase, Bari - Lindsay Sanderson, Bass - Loren Kaminski
Forefront Quartet formed in August of 2009. Since then, this quartet has enjoyed success at international barbershop competitions by placing 13th in 2010, 6th in 2011, and 7th in 2012! They were also named the 2010 and 2013 Cardinal District Quartet of the Year. They won the 2010 Cardinal District Quartet Championship and of over 300 district quartet competitors from around the nation, they finished with the highest score. In 2013 they won a 5th place bronze medal for their contest performances in Toronto.
Quickly becoming one of the Barbershop Harmony Society's most sought-after quartets, they pride themselves in providing their audiences with great music, artistry, and performance energy!
Bands are often formed in a bar after a few drinks. They then perform their own versions of popular songs. Fork's tale had a slightly different start. But Fork is in no way an ordinary band - neither as a rock group nor as an a cappella group. Fork's basic idea is to do things the unconventional way; so the band does rock and pop songs a cappella. When it comes to a cappella Fork has always had a few trump cards of their own up their sleeve. As band so elegantly puts it: Fork does to a cappella what Jimi Hendrix did to guitar music and what Viagra does to a man! This has been the case ever since the three actors and one police man were having a cup of tea in the kitchen of an apartment in Helsinki back in 1996 and decided to start a band. There was just one problem: it was impossible to form a rock band with the instruments the four could play - the piano, the violin, the recorder and the bass. But then it dawned on them; they all could sing!
One of the most successful pre-rock vocal groups, the Four Aces did well during the early '50s with a narrow range of pop material but burned out before decade's end. Founded by Navy shipmates Al Alberts and Dave Mahoney, the act added Lou Silvestri and Sol Vaccaro before making a name for themselves around their native Philadelphia. After failing to find a distributor for their debut single "(It's No) Sin," Alberts founded his own Victoria label to release the single. It became a big hit in late 1951 and sold a million copies. Signed to Decca before the end of the year, their debut single for the label, "Tell Me Why," just barely missed the top of the charts and sold a million copies as well. A few Top Ten hits followed during the early '50s before the theme to Three Coins in the Fountain hit number one in 1954. Another movie theme, "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," spent over a month at the top during 1955.
The Four Bettys are the 2008 Sweet Adelines International Champion Quartet. With a combined 40+ years singing and numerous national and international awards, they share a passion for performing. The Bettys just love an audience, and have enjoyed a wide variety of performance situations including concerts, barbershop chapter shows, special events, serenades, or even drive-by singings. The Bettys have sung for audiences in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Nevada, Kansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Florida, Canada, Maryland and can soon be seen in Oregon, California and Hawaii. Last May, the Bettys had the rare honor of headlining a show at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Formed in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, USA, in 1952, the vocal harmony group the Four Coins consisted of George Mantalis, James Gregorakis and brothers George and Michael Mahramas. Originally the quartet were horn players in an orchestra with Bobby Vinton, who was an unknown at the time. At the end of 1952 the foursome began harmonizing together, and in January 1953 appeared on an 'amateur hour' radio programme, which they won. They left Vinton in 1953 and began a residency at a Pittsburgh club called the Blue Ridge Inn, naming themselves the Four Keys.
They recorded their first singles in November 1953 for Corona Records, which led to a contract with Epic Records, a branch of the larger Columbia Records. Taking their cue from another quartet, the Four Aces, the group changed its name to the Four Coins. The group's first Epic single, 'We'll Be Married (In The Church In The Wildwood)', sold well but it was not until 1957 that they recorded their biggest hit, 'Shangri-La', which reached number 11 in the US charts and earned a gold record. The group had charted seven times by 1959. In 1960 they changed labels to MGM Records and continued to record for Jubilee Records, Vee Jay Records and Roulette Records, undergoing personnel changes along the way. They disbanded in 1970.
The Four Freshmen were one of the top vocal groups of the 1950s, and formed the bridge between '40s ensembles like Mel-Tones and harmony-based rock & roll bands such as the Beach Boys as well as groups like Spanky & Our Gang and the Manhattan Transfer. The group's roots go back to the end of the 1940s and a barbershop quartet-influenced outfit called Hal's Harmonizers, organized at the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Butler University in Indiana by two brothers, Ross and Don Barbour. Their repertoire centered on standards such as "Moonglow" and "The Christmas Song," and they began to show an unusually free, improvisational approach to their harmony singing. A couple of membership changes brought Bob Flanigan, a cousin, into the fold alongside Hal Kratzsch, and suddenly the Four Freshmen were assembled in all but name, and that fell into place a little later.
The Four King Cousins are daughters of the famous King Sisters and members of the equally famous King Family.
The four young women, all pretty blondes in their early 20s, first appeared on TV on John Davidson's "Kraft Summer Music Hall".
Then they were signed to a Capitol recording contract, appeared on top shows like Jonathan Winters and Johnny Carson, and in concert with Buddy Rich, Buddy Greco and Stan Getz.
"Introducing" was their debut album, 11 heavily-accompanied pop covers, including a pair by Burt Bacharach, a pair by Lennon/McCartney, Brian Wilson's "God Only Knows" and other pop hits. Innocent, schmaltzy, nostalgic, top-40 fun from the late 60s!
From college campuses to supper clubs, fairs to industrial shows, commercials to concert halls, Tokyo's Latin Quarter to New York's Copacabana, Glasgow's Empress Theatre to Notre Dame, Las Vegas' Sands Hotel to Honolulu Stadium, Okinawa's Naha Theatre to Manilla's Aranete Concert Hall... the Four Lads radio, television and live appearances reads like a veritable "who's who" of the entertainment industry. The Lads launched their professional career in 1950 singing in local clubs around Toronto. Quite a few "Ups and Downs" later, the boys had a chance for a tryout performance at New York's posh dinner club, Le Ruban Bleu. There, Mitch Miller saw them and put them on the million-selling Johnnie Ray records "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried". After that, the Lads were signed to their own recording contract, receiving their first Gold Record in 1953 for "Istanbul". Their success story includes the sale of some 50 million singles and albums to date.
The clean-cut West Coast-based Four Preps are best remembered for a string of Top 100 hits during the late '50s and early '60s, including "Twenty Six Miles (Santa Catalina)," "Big Man," "Down by the Station," "Lazy Summer Night," "Got a Girl," "It Ain't Never," "Moon River," "Lollipops and Roses," "My Special Angel," and others. Ultimately, the Four Preps' biggest influence can be heard via their impact on Brian Wilson, whose harmony-driven production for the Beach Boys was a direct antecedent of the Four Preps' sound.
Formed in 1956, the Four Renegades slowly rose in International competitions until winning it all by 450 points in Boston, 1965. At that point they were: Bass, Tom Felger, Baritone, Jim Foley, Lead, Ben Williams and Tenor Buzz Haeger. There are 30 songs, and it's hard to tell who's having more fun, the group or the audience. Want funny? Listen to 'Mr. Bassman.' Poignant? 'The Little Boy.' Rousing? 'Waiting for the Robert E. Lee.' Spiritual? 'The Lord's Prayer.' The Renegades were funny, they sang great, they had class, and they were tremendous barbershop ambassadors. It adds up to a CD that's big fun!
Four Shadow, the famous a cappella group from Minneapolis, Minnesota, performs for crowds across the nation, singing over 150 shows a year in over 40 states for audiences of all ages and musical tastes. In addition to a number of original songs, they perform tunes by artists like the Beatles, Paul Simon, the Dave Matthews Band, and Howie Day. Four Shadow has shared the stage with Huey Lewis, the Persuasions, and Lonestar, and performed live on NBC's "Today" show.
Every Four Shadow show is filled with a winning mix of audience interaction, infectious energy, friendly humor and strong a cappella vocals. One of the nation's hottest a cappella groups, these guys demonstrate beyond a doubt that the most powerful and versatile instrument of all is one which we each possess - the human voice.
Members of the Four Statesmen began quartet singing as early as 1945. The first International appearance was in 1964, where they placed twelfth. Following their win in 1967, they kept singing, with appearances on the Mike Douglas TV show and tours that took them as far abroad as England, France and Italy. The 27 songs on this recording include the sentimental - 'Try To Remember,' 'Climb Every Mountain' and ' I Miss You Most Of All' are just a few - as well as the lighthearted: 'I've Got The Time, I've Got The Place, But It's Hard To Get The Girl' and 'Crazy Bones Skeleton Ball.' Our favorite: 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,' with a beautifully-harmonized refrain.
The Four Tunes, like many African-American groups of the 40s and early 50s, were a pop rather than a R&B ensemble. The group had its origin in the Brown Dots, and was formed by Ivory 'Deek' Watson (18 July 1909, Mounds, Illinois, USA, d. 4 November 1969, Washington, DC, USA) after he first fell out with the rest of the Ink Spots in November 1944. The other members of the original Brown Dots line-up were Pat Best (b. William Best, 6 June 1923, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA, d. 14 October 2004, Roseville, California, USA; baritone), Jimmy Gordon (bass) and Joe King (first tenor), although the latter was quickly replaced by Jimmy Nabbie (b. USA, d. September 1992). While still with the Brown Dots, Best, Gordon and Nabbie left Watson and joined with second tenor Danny Owens in 1946 to record on the Manor label as the Sentimentalists, changing their name shortly afterwards to the Four Tunes.
The Four Vagabonds were radio stars of the early and mid 1940s. As 50's vocal harmony lovers will tell you, the Four Vagabonds are grandfathers of R&B harmony. Their 1946 Apollo recording sessions links them to R&B recording history. Surprisingly, many educated black music fans are completely unaware of the Vagabonds. They sang popular songs, which some blues-oriented listeners may find challenging. Regardless of the repertoire, the Four Vagabonds were expert practitioners of improvisational harmony singing. The balance of their harmony is an extraordinary thing, the evenness of the four voices. The singers' pitch is exceptionally accurate, especially lead vocalist John Jordan. The Four Vagabonds' mastery of "barbershop chord" construction is evident in many stunning touches, most particularly the "instrumental choruses," which add another dimension to the Four Vagabonds' art. Objectively, their horn imitations is impressive not because it sounds so much like a brass band, but because the Vagabonds manage to make it gorgeous beyond description.
In 1993, when Bradley High School students, Chad and Brandon Guyton, attended a Harmony Explosion presentation, they had no idea what lay ahead. A few years later, they recruited two fellow Lee University musicians, Lester Rector and Jayson VanHook, to form Four Voices. Contrary to popular belief, the "Four Voices" name was not inspired from the obvious, that is the requirement to fulfill the prerequisites of a quartet. Actually, these young men met in the Voices of Lee, a 16-member vocal orchestra group at Lee University, where they contributed four of the eight men's voices to make a unique, harmonious sound that has gained international recognition.
Born in 1908 in Kankakee, Illinois, Fred was named after his father, Fred. Despite his early love of music, he would soon become internationally adored as a star of both the small and silver screens as well as the visual inspiration for one of America's most cherished comic book icons. In fact... oops. Wrong Fred. Sorry.
Fred (the barbershop quartet, not that other guy) was formed in 1991 when four members of Marietta, Georgia's Big Chicken Chorus decided that they were better without all the extra dead weight. Many audiences and professional coaches would argue that were probably wrong.
Seeking a name for the newly formed quartet, the four plucky members spent an hour discussing possibilities before they all became too tired and disgusted with one another to continue. Fed up with all the great possibilities, they compromised on the name "Fred," thereby proving Andrew Carnegie's maxim that "strong men don't compromise."
One of the enduring images of the 1920s is of the college boy in a raccoon coat, out for some jazz kicks with a hip flask and a flapper on his arm. Waring's Pennsylvanians popularized this type of image through their music, stage shows, and film appearances. The band was formed in 1918 at Pennsylvania State University by the brothers Fred and Tom Waring, and their friends Freddy Buck and Poley McClintock.
They first billed themselves as the Waring-McClintock Snap Orchestra and then became Waring's Banjo Orchestra before adopting the name of Waring's Pennsylvanians in 1922. In 1923 they had a big hit with the record Sleep and the song continued to be the band's theme song for many years to come.
Fretless made its debut in June of 1999 at the First Parish Unitarian Church in Bedford, MA. In 2004, we competed at the Eastern Regional Harmony Sweepstakes at Tufts University's Cohen Auditorium, winning third place. In 2005, we produced our first CD entitled "All the Things We Are".
Fretless weaves the soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass voices of five accomplished performers into a tapestry of lush harmonies and fascinating lyrics. Our repertoire includes an adventurous mix of lively pop songs, Broadway classics, demanding classical works, and off-beat selections from the great American songbook.
Many moons ago, Dan and Bill sang with Fatherly Advice, the 1996 Seniors International Champions. After losing their bass, Burt Staffen, to cancer and their lead, Dick Bek, to a staff job at SPEBSQSA, they discussed the possibility of a new quartet with Forrest and West, who had filled in for Dick and Burt with Fatherly Advice on occasion. After all, there were commitments to fill and new engagements out there ripe for the picking! Following a quick vote among the friends, and with a slight name change to Friendly Advice, it was "on with the show"!
Today, the fours0me are frequent entertainers at local shows and special events, and plan to continue offering their own brand of "friendly advice" to audiences far into the future!
Dutch vocal group FROMMERMANN is named after Harry Frommermann, founder of the Comedian Harmonists. This German ensemble, comprised of five singers and a pianist, was a huge sensation in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Frommermann made their debut in the 2005 Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam with the program 'Broken Silence', a musical tribute to the Comedian Harmonists. Although meant to be a singular collaboration, public and press were so enthusiastic about the group that more concerts quickly followed. In 2006 Frommermann received an invitation to perform at the annual Koninginnedagconcert ('Queen's Concert') at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague which was attended by HRH Queen Beatrix, the royal family and many esteemed guests. For this occasion, the Dutch public television program NPS created a 'making of' documentary which, together with the concert itself, was broadcast nationwide on Koninginnedag ('Queen's Day') 2006. In the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 seasons Frommermann brought the 'Broken Silence' to many cities and theatres with a tour throughout the Netherlands.
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